This is an easy recipe for How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns. Enjoyed for Easter on Good Friday, these buns will have your mouth watering as you smell them baking in the oven. With spices like cinnamon, all-spice and ginger just the aroma of these buns baking will have you eagerly waiting them. Studded with currants, these buns are best warm out of the oven served simply with butter.
This is the same great recipe that I first published in 2014, with updated pictures and a step-by-step video.
If there was ever a food that reminds me of Easter as a child, it’s the hot cross bun. Traditionally eaten in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada for breakfast on Good Friday.
In fact, all kids growing up in England are made aware of the Easter nursery rhyme about these buns that was published in London in 1798.
Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns!
We all know good food takes time, so there’s a little kneading involved and a little rising, the buns, not you. The dough is kneaded after mixing and then left to rise.
After the first rise, the dough is kneaded again, shaped into buns and risen for the second time. Before they are baked a cross is made across the top of the buns. This is a paste of flour, sugar and water is piped into the cuts so when the buns are baked the cross is visible.
Tips for working with yeast
Make sure your yeast is fresh. If it is not, it will not activate.
The water for the yeast must be around 105– 115 °F (40 – 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin to not under activate or kill the yeast. A thermometer can help with this.
How long do hot cross buns keep?
They are best eaten the day they are made. Any that I don’t eat, I keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Beyond that, I freeze them up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap the frozen buns in foil and bake at 350°F/ 177°C for 15-20 minutes.
If you’ve tried these Traditional Hot Cross Buns or any other recipe on the blog, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!
Stir the yeast and sugar into the milk. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes (maybe more) until to start to see it bubble.
To a mixing bowl add the flour, salt and spices and currants, mix well. Make a well in the center, add the milk and yeast, butter, and beaten eggs. Use a spatula to bring the dough together, then use your hands to make the dough to a large ball. It will be sticky. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 mins to rise. The oven turned off is a good place.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 balls and shape each into a bun. Place close together on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and cover loosely with a towel. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.
Mix the 1/3 cup flour and sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of water to form a paste.
Add to a ziptop bag, remove the air and seal. Cut a little off the corner off the ziptop bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun. No need to score the dough, the crosses melt into the the buns as they bake.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (time will depend on your oven).
Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon warm water and stir until syrupy. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze while still warm. Cool on a wire rack.
To store the buns, keep in an air tight container for up to 4 days. If you find the buns getting too firm, I like to microwave them (one at a time) for about 20 seconds, this will soften them up and also make them nice and warm.
*105– 115 °F (40 - 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin
1 bun Amount Per ServingCalories 229Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 46mgSodium 192mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 5g
This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.
59 Comments on “How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns”
This was delicious
Growing up in England we always said …
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny. Two a penny.
Hot cross buns!
If you don’t have a penny,
A halfpenny will do.
Hot cross buns!
Ha ha, yes so did I. I actually mention this in the text above.
I made these today and halved the recipe. It worked well and very tasty indeed
I’m so happy you liked the hot cross buns, thank you so much for your feedback.
Made these for my grandson but he only got one as my husband and I LOVED them. I’m on my second batch for my grandson now lol.
This is a lovely compliment and I hope your grandson gets a good sharing this time 🙂
Just made your baileys Irish cream cake. Ohhhhh man my friends went wild for it. We are a bunch of foodies (including my 10 year old grandson) I’m LOVING your recipes. I was always a cook but never one for baking but since the pandemic I’m getting right into it and loving it. Thanks for all the great recipes, keep them coming. Happy Easter.
Aww, this is so nice to hear and makes me feel good about what I do. Thank you.
First time ever trying hot cross buns. They came out huge but delicious had a little problem with crosses but edible
I’m so happy you liked them and if the size worked, then there’s just more to enjoy 🙂
Made these for the first and time …..absolutely perfect!
I’m so happy you loved the buns. Thank you for the feedback.
I made these today and they were awesome. Love your recipes, never been disappointed.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the hot cross buns and thank you so much for the lovely complement. Have a lovely weekend.
I am not sure what I am doing wrong but when adding the active dry yeast to the warm milk and sugar, I am not seeing it bubble. I used a thermometer and it has been well over 5 minutes.
Make sure the water is not too hot (it should feel comfortable when you put in your finger) or this will kill the yeast. It also should not be too cold. Or, it could be a bad batch of yeast and it may not be alive. I hope this helps.
Had my sweet 3 year old help me. She chose blueberries and dates for her fruits. We are excited to try them!
Awww, I love having little ones help in the kitchen
Don’t you use the mixer for these buns?
I prefer to make them by hand, but a mixer can be used.
This is the best recipe ever! These buns reminded me exactly of my childhood and they were flawless
Thank you so much for the kind words and feedback. They remind me of my childhood too 🙂
Great recipe. I actually made 2 batches, 1 with a mixture of cut fruit and raisins and the other without any fruit at all as a couple of my kids are not fans of the fruit. Both batches turned out fantastic and the kids were thrilled. My one daughter was especially happy as she has never enjoyed Hot Cross buns before (because of them having the fruit) and now kind of understands why they are a must have through the Easter season for the rest of us.
This is lovely to hear, thank you for sharing.
These were delicious! I kneaded for 10 minutes – at first raisins were falling out everywhere but eventually the dough came together and held the raisins better!
Glad you held on with the kneading and it worked out.
I tried this recipe , really loved it was my first attempt at hot cross buns and came out yummy
Great job Allan, I’m so happy you enjoyed them.
I made these for the first time today – Good Friday.
I am vegan, so I couldn’t enjoy these, but my 3 boys and my mom did. I loved the smell of my house while these were in the oven baking. I didn’t know ginger was an ingredient. Surprise, surprise!
I’m sorry you couldn’t enjoy them, but yeah for mom 🙂
Great recipe, although my yeast was not as fresh as it could have been, I am sure the next batch will be lovely! These are a bit stodgy due to not rising because of the yeast but they still taste amazing.
Thank you for leaving the lovely feedback. Yeast is very finicky and as you’ve learned and must be good and fresh. I hope they are better next time for you.
I’ve never made these before so i was a little nervous but the recipe is so easy to follow and they taste amazing. I’ll be making them again
I’m so happy to hear this
My new go-to for this recipe. Easy recipe and delicious I left off the cross because my picky husband is not a fan
It’s a good thing they’re just as good sans the X 🙂
Hello, I made these last week and they turned out wonderfully!!! My husband was over the moon in love with them!! Lol. I have only two suggestions. The comments about scoring the top of the buns & adding sugar to the paste are not in the directions part of the recipe. Otherwise…. fantastic!!
I’m so happy you enjoyed them, they’re my favorite too. I did notice that adding the sugar to the paste was missing from the instructions so I’ve added that back in. There is no need to score the buns before piping on the cross because as they bake, the crosses melt into them so that is why that step is not in the instructions. Thank you for the great feedback.
These look lovely. I will try the recipe this month. Btw, the sonf also has a verse as follows:
If you have no pennies a ha’ penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’ penny, God Bless you.
(Ha’ penny equals half a penny)
Thank you, I hope you enjoy them. I do believe that this verse is from a British Halloween trick or treat song.
I made your hot cross bun recipe and it is the best. I did tweak a little . I soaked 1/2 cup candied peel and 1/2 cup currants in. About 2 TBSP grand marnier liqueur. It just adds so much flavor. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe with everyone.
I’m loving this idea. I’ll be trying it for Easter. I’m so glad you liked them.
I soaked the currants and candied chopped peel overnight in a bowl but you could just soak them for a few hours too. The alcohol will burn off when it cooks but it just adds so much flavour . Thanks again for his awesome recipe. Have a wonderful day Pam
This is all very helpful, thank you 🙂
I made these yesterday and they really are delicious. I made 12 but they are twice as large as I would use. So next time I’m making smaller buns. Thank you for this recipe.
Yummy. They look absolutely delicious. Good Friday just isn’t Good Friday without a warm hot cross bun.
You’re so right, with lots of butter. Have a lovely weekend 🙂
being from the UK ( living in the US for many years) Your hot cross buns look divine. I am also singing the song to myself as I look at your yummy treats, Hugs
Hi Katherine, same here and I sing the song too 🙂
These buns are really beautiful and perfect for Easter brunch! Have a wonderful weekend!
Hi Tracey, thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend 🙂
Hi Pauline, I had never made them either and they just took me right back to childhood. Let me know if you make them 🙂
I love hot cross buns and like you grew up in England. I find the lurid crosses on the buns for sale in my local (US) stores rather off-putting. Perhaps this is the year when I’ll try making some!
The recipe looks easy will make it this week for Good Friday. Thank you very much and Happy Easter yo you!
My recipe is very popular right now and many have made them with great results. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions.
“Lurid crosses” ???? I pray for your soul……
Everytime I am at an Easter Gathering, I am always looking for these Hot Cross Buns. They are my favorite and now I know how fun it is to make them.